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Accounting News Roundup: Public Service After Big 4 and Innovator or Criminal? | 02.15.17

Innovator or criminal?

These days, Andrew Fastow, the former CFO of Enron, speaks about his experience leading one of the biggest corporate scandals in history. In a recent speech to D&O underwriters, Fastow made it clear that the irony of his accomplishments is pretty rich:

As he spoke, he held two props – a trophy he received for being named CFO Magazine’s CFO of the year in 2000 and his prison identification card, which he received just two years later after Enron’s downfall, which culminated in the firm declaring bankruptcy and Fastow spending six years in federal prison.

“I got both of these for doing the same deals,” he said. “How is it possible to be CFO of the year and go to federal prison doing the same deals? How is it possible to be CFO of the year and commit the greatest fraud in corporate American history doing the same deals?”

Good question! You hear stories like this a lot — a person awarded for their entrepreneurship or business ingenuity turns out to be breaking the law. If it’s such a fine line between being CFO of the year and prison, you have to wonder whether the real trick to being a success is, especially when it comes to things like accounting, pushing the limits, but not pushing them too far.

We’ve talked about this before: creative accountants get the job. So it makes sense that they’d also get the promotion and another promotion and another, until they’re CFO and then they’re winning awards. The capstone, of course, is going to prison for being so creative.

Life after Big 4

Hey look, the governor of Missouri appointed a PwC partner to lead the state’s Department of Revenue. The governor called Joel Walters “an ‘outsider’ who has helped businesses around the world understand tax laws ‘so that they can grow and create jobs.'” That could be you! God knows we need good people in government right now. Why not a few more CPAs?

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! There have been fresh calls for the president to release his tax returns, this time focusing on whether or not he has business connections to Russia. Democrats claim that it’s in the interest of national security, but the chairman of the Ways & Means Committee isn’t buying it.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Greg Kyte had a special Valentine’s Day edition of Exposure Drafts. In Open Items, is millennial discrimination against the law?

In other news:

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Posted in ANR